The thing about early spring, at least here in the Hudson Valley, is that it basically looks and feels exactly like winter. For most of March and even into April, it’s cold and damp, and nothing in the garden will grow. During these dog days, a bright and zingy citrus salad feels like a life-saver. And it’s simplicity itself: juicy, sweet blood oranges (and a few mandarins for variety’s sake), tossed with crisp endive and some quick-pickled red onions. Toss over a little peppery mint and pistachios for crunch and that’s it. A drizzle of good olive oil and a sprinkle of flaky salt is all the dressing it needs.
If fresh, local asparagus is in the stores, it must be early Spring. This vegetable is one of the first to beckon in the new season and herald an end to Winter. We simmer the delicate white asparagus spears until they become tender and sweet, then drizzle them with a homemade aioli flavored with black garlic, lemon, and miso. It’s both simple and incredibly delicious.
Note: This recipe will work just as well with green asparagus, if that’s what you have (and the Black Garlic Aioli is delicious on just about anything. It’s crazy good).
Back in the early days of our relationship, I may have poked some good-natured fun at Matt for being what I would call a “Prom Drinker”. A prom drinker, for those of you who don’t know, is someone who would walk up to a sophisticated bar and ask for a Malibu Sunset, a Midori Sour, or, God forbid, a Mudslide. Matt was nowhere near that embarrassing, but the first time he ordered a Bailey’s on the rocks, I pinched his cheek and called him adorable. And then I tasted it and was like, hot damn, that’s really good.
Bailey’s Irish Cream was invented in 1971, so it can’t really be classified as “classic Irish drink”, but it’s no less delicious for it. It’s rich and creamy, with a whisky bite tempered to a dessert-like sweetness. An indulgence all by itself. So why not use it as the inspiration for a St. Patrick’s Day dessert: Bailey’s parfaits?